Despite the occasional lack of originality in movies, I feel like recent years have led to an even bigger gap between the complete crap and the true inspiration. More and more terrible movies come out, but they are sometimes juxtaposed with great ones, and 2010 was a year that showed inspiration was not dying in the movie industry. Here are my 5 favorite movies of the year.
- Waiting for Superman
This gripping documentary about the state of the education system in America was eye-opening and desperately sad at the same time. It followed a few different students through their experience with the system, and though it was easy to pray that it would all turn out okay for them, this is no fictional story, and the devastating truth that America’s students are being neglected comes to light. There were a lot of amazing facts here, and it was all presented in an interesting and easy to follow way. This was the best documentary I’ve seen in a while, and it’s one that I really hope makes a difference in the education system here.
- Never Let Me Go
This is a strange sci-fi movie (though it’s sci-fi only in concept, rather than visually) that follows the romance of people who learn they were born and raised to be organ donors and nothing more. It’s full of devastating sadness, but has some of the most heartfelt and raw emotion I’ve seen in a while. It takes a lot for a movie to get to me, but the end definitely had me crying. Though it’s a difficult to watch film, it’s one of the most incredibly personal and moving stories I’ve seen in a long time, and exactly the kind of romance story that deserved a lot more attention than it got. Pay close attention to this film, because it should not be overlooked.
- Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
Nobody went to see this movie, and I have no idea why, because it was simply awesome. Everything about it screamed awesome. And though I hate to put such a goofy, campy movie above serious and important films like Waiting for Superman or Never Let Me Go, everything Scott Pilgrim did was something done with nearly perfect style, humor, and self-awareness. This was the perfect action movie, the perfect comedy, the perfect teen movie, the perfect comic book movie, almost everything you’d want it to be. Is it shallow in the end? I suppose, but it wasn’t meant to be anything more than an awesomely entertaining thrill ride. I can’t think of a single thing that was wrong with this film, and everything it accomplished was leaps and bounds better done than any comedy or throwaway action film I’ve seen in a while.
- Black Swan
I love this movie. Darren Aronofsky has shown he is a strange filmmaker, and though Requiem for a Dream was one of my favorite movies, Pi didn’t exactly agree with me. Given that, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Black Swan that much. But Black Swan was more than just a visual treat – it was everything a psychological thriller should be – confusing, dark, scary, intense, immersive, gorgeous, well acted, well shot, everything. And it had an ending that could only be described as perfect. This is not only one of the best movies of the year, but one of the best of the last few years, and should not be overshadowed, if only by a single film, which is…
A lot of people will think this is a typical choice, an unoriginal one, even an immature one. And to them, I say just because a movie is mainstream doesn’t mean it’s not fantastic. I feel as though there was a group of people that was destined to hate Inception because it was a deep, thought-provoking, amazingly constructed film that happened to appeal to a mainstream audience. It had incredible CGI, but also an incredible and original plot. One critic even went so far as to say that the movie wasn’t as complex as people thought it was, and that bothered him. However, the movie is, in fact, very complex, but easy to follow. And shouldn’t it be the goal of a complex story to convey itself in a way that people understand it? Inception is one of the most amazingly original stories to come out in a while and featured amazing action, amazing acting, amazing plotting, amazing pacing, and so many jaw-dropping moments I could barely keep myself in my seat. This is one of the most perfect films ever released in my opinion, and certainly the best of the past few years. This movie won’t win best picture just because it’s so CGI heavy and unrealistic, and honestly, I feel like the Academy is biased towards everything that Inception is not. But I think it’s one of the most fantastic things to be released into theaters in a long time, and like it or not, that’s how I feel.
If you missed any one of these movies this year, do yourself a favor and go see them, because they are definitely worth your time and money!